Monday, October 4, 2010

Attack of the Soviet Ape-Men!


The story goes like this: Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin wanted to create a super-soldier, a “new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.” To this end, he tasked the USSR’s preeminent biologist Ilya Ivanov (the man who had pioneered the use of artificial insemination the obtain interspecies hybrids) with making half-man, half-chimpanzee super-warriors.

The truth seems to be that Stalin was never particularly interested in Ivanov’s experiments--that was the biologist’s own mad scientist leanings. Nevertheless, the experiments did take place. First, in 1927, he tried to artificially inseminate female chimps with human sperm. When that didn’t work, he began to plan to cross human females with male chimpanzees. In 1929, with the support of the Society of Material Biologists, Ivanov made plans to inseminate volunteer women in the Soviet human, but his last male ape (an orangutan) died. The wait to obtain new apes slowed things down long enough for the political winds to shift, and his experiments were ended.

This may not have been the first time such mad science antics were tried. According to the Discovery Channel, psychologist/eugenicist/primatology pioneer Robert Yerkes or his team supposedly created a human/chimpanzee hybrid in Florida in the 1920s. The rumor goes the hybrid was later destroyed--or did it did escape into the skunk-ape haunted swamps?

Anyway, I find all of these doings great fodder for pulpish or superhero gaming--and possibly post-apocalyptic gaming, too. Maybe the hidden Gorilla City in darkest Africa is a Marxist-Lenninist worker’s paradise? Or maybe the the far future ape city (the one near what used to be New York) reveres Yerkes as they’re Lawgiver; he did give them language after all?

7 comments:

JimShelley said...

Your Marxist-Lennist Gorilla City reminds me of a Fantastic Four pitch I made concerning the Red Ghost's Super-Apes. I think there is a lot of gold to be mined in such a setting!

As an aside - I'm sorry to see the old Planet of the Apes franchise withering on the vine like it is.

Roger the GS said...

> made plans to inseminate volunteer women

Those must have been, er, some "volunteers" indeed.

The Sovs had more luck keeping severed dog heads alive as I recall. Maybe somewhere in a secret crypt of the Kremlin, Uncle Joe's noggin still keeps on muttering about Jewish doctors ...

seaofstarsrpg said...

Crazy Soviet Super (psuedo) Science is a gold mine for mad pulp and wild supers adventures.

My various 1960s set supers campaigns made good use of both Soviet Super Science and apes, both solid four-color themes.

Brutorz Bill said...

Simians Rule!

Trey said...

I thought you might like this one, Bill. ;)

Risus Monkey said...

I remember reading about this a while back. It's hard to beat state-sponsored mad science, though I suppose said mad scientists wouldn't be as driven to "achieve recognition after being laughed out of the academy" or whatever. An unhealthy persecution complex seems to be mark of all the most ambitious science villains.

Jay said...

I swear I thought this was fiction until I got half-way through!